Nike PG 4 Launch Recap

Among the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles, I found myself at the Trinity Auditorium. An inconspicuous building that was previously a church. This was the scene as Nike Basketball invited media to help LA Clippers all-star Paul George launch his new signature shoe, the Nike PG 4.

When PG13 first debuted the sneakers (playing in a game versus the Knicks on Jan. 5) there was plenty of chatter online over its design. Perhaps it was an over reaction? More on that later.

Inside the cathedral with stain-glassed windows was a full court. Four colorways of the sneaker were on display and we played in the purple Gatorade “Gx” version.

First impressions: The toe box was definitely tight. I saw a few people asking to go up ½ a size. For clarity, I wear size 12 so my options were limited. After running around for 20 minutes my feet adjusted and felt fine. The traction was solid as I didn’t experience any slipping.

Nike PG4 Launch Gatorade Colorway

The biggest question was the lacing and zippering system, which initially reminded me of Gary Payton’s Air Zoom Flight ’98 model. I laced them up traditionally and left the zipper down. The shroud was more a fashion statement, giving players the option. Later I zipped them up fully, which made the upper feel snug. Using breathable materials was smart, keeping it lightweight and transparent.

Whether you like to cruise with the top down or play faster zipped up, the shoe performed well and exceeded expectations.

Nike PG4 Launch Tech Breakdown

After testing the PG 4, I spoke with the man himself, Paul George. Discussing the new Air Strobel cushioning, he shared his thoughts from playing in them.

“You know what? It was new to me with its innovation. I knew it was going away from what we were doing with the air bag. I’m all about innovation and what’s best going forward with my line. So far so good, when I felt it, I was all for it, if it made for a better performance of the shoe,” George said.

We talked about the different types of sneakers he wore before his signature line was unveiled, from his high school days all the way to the pros.

“In high school I wore LeBron’s, Kobe’s. In college I wore Kobe’s and Jordan’s. Earlier in the league I wore everything from Jordan’s to Kobe’s to LeBron’s to Foamposites, I wore it all,” he said.

Nike PG4 Launch Colorway Gatorade

Coming back home, playing for the LA Clippers, and being from Palmdale, I asked PG what it was like giving back to his community and refurbishing the courts he grew up on.

“That’s everything, that’s the reason I came back home and why I do what I do. To be able to inspire the next generation to ultimately help the community that raised me and got me to where I am. It’s a surreal thing to play and represent my home,” he said.

The city of Los Angeles is bubbling over its two NBA teams doing well. I wanted to know if he felt a rivalry starting to build between his cross hall neighbors.

“I think its more so for the fans. The Clippers haven’t won anything, and the Lakers have all the hardware and all the accolades. We’re trying to get there, to be great. When you look at it from a competitive sports aspect there’s no rivalry there. Ultimately, we want to beat them, they want to beat us. What team doesn’t? From the fan aspect there’s a rivalry, we hear it all the time. It’s fun, it plays into the story.”

Collaborations are always a hot topic with kicks, so I inquired if there were other projects lined up for the season.

“I’m going to keep that on the lowkey. But honestly, we have some amazing colorways, dope colorways coming up. This is the pop to start it off, but everyone knows my line, there’s going to be stuff sprinkled in there to keep it interesting. I’m excited for people to see what else we have in store,” said George.

His first PE color on court was red, white and blue to match the Clippers home uniform. It also had me thinking about the Summer Olympics. I asked PG if he’s put any thought into playing again for Team USA?

“Yeah, that’s always on my to-do list. Hopefully I can finish this year out healthy, hopefully we succeed going far, and win it all. I’ll address that when the time comes but definitely my goal is to play and represent my country this summer,” he concluded.

Also, on hand for the event was Nike Basketball designer Tony Hardman. We spoke about PG’s line and what makes this new version different in multiple ways.

How long does it take from ideation to roll out of PG’s signature shoe?

“Usually it takes about two years. The 5 is coming out in a year, so we’ve been working on that for a year already, and now starting on the 6,” Hardman said.

Social media went crazy when George debuted the new kicks, especially over the zippered shroud. Was that collaborative or did he want that included?

“That was more of something we pitched to him, we went through some variations and thought about what would stand out. We thought more additive, what are we going to add to it to make it stand out. We thought about the landscape of all the shoes we already have and the landscape in footwear. Let’s go the other way, make his shoe stand out, make it super clean, aerodynamic. He wanted to be faster, so it felt like the right thing to have no distractions. It didn’t start as a zipper, more of a velcro closure but it wasn’t quite working the way we wanted to, so we went with the zip up. It worked, functioned great, and easier to get on,” he said.

Let’s talk about the cushioning, the Air Strobel. Is this a first gen model being used?

“Yes, he’s going to lead this innovation. Something that the team has been working on for a while. When we first tried it in a factory in Asia, the minute I put it on I said ‘We have to get this for Paul’ and pushed for it. He’s going to launch it and then probably see it in feature products of Nike as well,” shared Hardman.

Can you tease any future colorways this season? Anything special in line for the All-Star Game or other collabs?

“He will have a special collab for the ASG, I can’t really say what it is. There’s going to be some unexpected things we do with the shoe. There’s no plans for a 4.5 or anything like that, but I think that we refresh it, and that will bring the kind of energy to it,” he said.

The Nike PG4 launches in the purple Gatorade “Gx” colorway via SNKRS on Jan. 17 for $120.

The black / white colorway releases in store and on Nike.com Jan. 24 for $110.

The turquoise Gatorade “Gx” model will be available to gamers who unlock it playing NBA2K later this season. A plaid color that was on display currently does not have a release date.

Photos by Michael Silver for solehello.com. Additional images provided by NIKE.

The adidas Dame 6 is our first performance review for 2020

The adidas Dame 6 is our first performance review for 2020. Did it enter the new year on a positive note? Lets find out…

Herringbone from heel to toe — typically a tried and true setup. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for me when it came to the Dame 6. I had high expectations as the Dame 5 featured a very similar setup that I loved.

However, there were plenty online that claim the Dame 5 was slick and lackluster. It’s always hard for me to know if online comments are truthful or not as we’re in the age of the troll when it comes to leaving anonymous comments. Luckily I had a personal friend of mine complain about the issue with the Dame 5s which made me believe the majority of what I had read. Now, I’m the one complaining about slick traction as the Dame 6 was simply awful for me.

I only had good traction on the Lifetime court I play at. Every other court, from the local high school to 24 Hour Fitness — the traction was as slick laterally. Liner movements had some decent bite, but I still had to wipe every chance I got. When I would wipe it wasn’t the typical quick wipe and continue playing. I literally had to stop in my tracks, lift my foot up and rub my hand up and down — watching the dust clumps fall as if it were the North Pole.

Traction patterns can save poor rubber compound, but poor rubber compounds can kill great traction patterns. If you have to play in the Dame 6 then  I’d try to get a pair with solid rubber along the outsole. That may prove to be better overall than this split-died translucent.

Lightstrike is used for the first time on a Dame signature model, and I didn’t hate it.

I say this because I wasn’t a fan of the Lightstrike in the Harden Vol 4, but I loved it in the adidas N3XT L3V3L. This time around it was a bit more in between the two aforementioned models. Not too thin, but not too thick. For a shoe that was designed for guard style play, this was just right.

Bounce is still my preferred cushion setup from adidas so I hope they aren’t beginning to phase it out. With the Dame being adidas’ annual budget model featuring Bounce, we may not see it again on a main signature model — at least not for a while.

Transition was smooth as butter and impact protection was very nice overall. Court feel wasn’t lost and I never felt slow or laggy due to sinking into the footbed. It may not be Bounce, but it’s pretty close to it.

Materials featured on the kyrie 6 are primarily textiles. They feel and play cheap.

It was something that was a minor concern in my initial first impressions, but I was hopeful that they’d play just fine. I wouldn’t say the materials killed the performance or playability of the shoe at all, but the durability definitely took a hit.

My left shoe’s outsole is peeling away from the upper. Either the glue job was poor to begin with or the type of glue used isn’t strong enough to bond to textiles properly. I find the latter option to be a bit far fetched as adidas is no stranger to gluing outsole and midsole tooling to textile builds. But, for whatever reason, the shoe looks like it was run over and this is a primarily black shoe. If a black shoe is showing signs of wear this bad, on top of falling apart, then something went wrong.

I bought two sizes — one in my true size and one 1/2 size down. The pair that was 1/2 size down is what fit best so that is what I’d recommend for most.

Lockdown was okay, but nothing noteworthy. The heel area couldn’t keep the heel in place properly either — which is not a good thing when it comes to support.

Speaking of support…

It would have been better had the materials not buckled under certain movements and my heel been properly locked in. The wide base is nice and saved my ass when making lateral cuts and changes in direction without feeling cumbersome underfoot.

However, having a solid wide platform is only a piece of the puzzle when it comes to support. The shoe should have a little of everything — and each of those things should work in unison with one another. The Dame 6 has pieces, but not every piece works perfectly, thus the unity that most basketball shoes have… these do not.

Not the best way to start 2020 off, but it is what it is.

Traction should have been much better than what it was while support could have been better as well. Fit needs work and the materials are as cheap as they come. Even at $110, this is not a shoe that I can say offers any bang for your buck. At least, I didn’t feel like I spent $110 on a solid product and that’s what these reviews are about. Helping others figure out what they need/want out of a shoe and helping them understand if a shoe offers enough bang for the buck (retail price).

Everyone has a bad day at the office, and I still enjoy the Dame 2 through 5, so I hope this is just a hiccup in the line and not an indication of what’s to come moving forward.

 

Nike Joyride Dual Run Performance Review

The Nike Joyride Dual Run is an evolution in the Joyride line of running shoes. The original Nike Joyride Run Flyknit (click to read our review) was Nike’s first use of Joyride and aimed at weekend warriors running short distances. It was fun to wear but not great for more than 3-4 miles of running.

The Joyride Dual Run is both more affordable and aimed at allowing serious runners to get in on the Joyride experience.

Cushion

The Joyride Dual Run downsizes the number of compartments filled with beads from four to two. Nike removed the two forefoot compartments to make the forefoot more stable and remove the “beads sliding out from beneath your foot” problem. This makes a big difference in speed workouts. You no longer lose energy pushing the beads and instead have really good ground feel.

The same super comfy, yet unnamed, foam from the Joyride Run Flyknit returns to be the midsole in the Joyride Dual Run. The midsole only offers 19mm of foam between your forefoot and the ground but you still end up with a plush forefoot ride.

There also appears to be less beads in both the heel and midfoot compartments. The original tech featured mounds of beads pushing up into your foot. The Joyride Dual Run’s beads don’t do that. It also feels as if the insole layer between your foot and the beads includes a thin layer of padding so you don’t feel any individual beads beneath your foot.

While I don’t 100% love Joyride for running, it’s still fun, and the Joyride Dual Run improves the overall formula.

Traction

The traction pattern in the Joyride Dual Run Black and Joyride Run Flyknit is almost the same. The Joyride Dual Run dispenses with some of the hard rubber that surrounded the forefoot pods and one of the rubber pieces in the heel. Honestly, it feels about the same but the Joyride Dual Run will not be as durable as the Joyride Run Flyknit due to the missing rubber at the forefoot.

Support

The rear Joyride compartment’s casing extends almost to the ankle on the lateral side of the heel. That little bit of extra rubber, a normal sized heel counter, and your foot sitting slightly inside the midsole throughout the entire shoe keep your foot on the footbed. Nike also gives the midsole a nice wide base. While it’s not an ultra supportive shoe, Nike does a good job of making you feel as secure as you can given you’re standing on a bunch of beads.

Materials

The Nike Joyride Dual Run’s materials are standard mesh with fuse overlays. The fuse overlay in the toe is mostly a design element that wraps around and reinforces the bottom two lace loops on the lateral side. The fuse below the Swoosh logo also wraps around and reinforces both the heel and the bottom two lace lops on the medial side.

We’ve seen these materials on running shoes for years and years. Though they’re nothing special, they get the job done. It’s just kind of strange seeing pedestrian materials paired with space age Joyride tech.

Fit

While the Joyride Dual Run fits true to size (order your typical Nike size), the overall Fit of the shoe is just ok. The tongue is a stretchy half bootie that’s too short. Because of that, you’ve got to hold it a certain way to make sure it doesn’t fold up as you slip your foot inside. It was annoying every time I put on the shoe. The heel tab does help but it’s too little to overcome the tongue’s issues.

Along with the tongue, the lacing system is not very good. It has two plastic (and fuse reinforced) holes at the bottom but the top three lace loops are hidden. You lace through a layer of nylon that hides behind mesh or fuse. This makes them difficult to lace. And to make matters worse, the laces are super thin and super short. I finally stopped messing with the laces and left them tied. This made it harder to get into the shoe but it was better than messing with the laces each day.

The rest of the shoe’s mesh and it’s padded ankle collar are fairly normal for a runner. If Nike hadn’t gotten cutesy with the tongue or laces the Fit would have been solid all around.

Overall

The Nike Joyride Dual Run is an incremental improvement in the run-ability of the Joyride line. If the tongue and laces don’t bother you, it’s an inexpensive way to experience Joyride.

And despite the Joyride Dual Run’s issues, Nike is moving in the right direction. I’m optimistic 2020 will bring us a Joyride model that works for serious running while also fitting great. Keep your fingers crossed.

Air Jordan XX2 22 Performance Review

Since the Curry 7 review is just around the corner, I thought I’d step back and review the AJ XX2 since the Curry 3 took a huge bite out of the AJ XX2 back story.  I’m disappointed that UA went there but if the Curry 3 performs, nobody will care. I guess since the XX2 was such a sales dud maybe UA thought they could pull it off without anyone noticing? I don’t know …

Pros: traction, fit, support, materials

Cons: pod cushioning is too targeted and feels unnatural, tippy in the heel, pricey at $175 especially in 2007.

Sizing: half size down

Best for: guards

Weight

16.5 oz so just a half ounce more than the Crazylight Boost 2016.

Traction

Jordan Brand usually does a good job with traction and this was the highlight of the air jordan 34 for me. Stuck extremely well on clean floors and needed minimal wiping on dusty floors.  Probably would have been better if the entire outsole was the same depth but then the IPS system wouldn’t “work” as well

Cushioning

IPS is back again for the third straight model starting with the XX. Hurray?
I couldn’t tell a difference in density in any of the aforementioned models and this was no different. The IPS foam feels great overall at least with a nice bit of springiness.

As for the heel, Jordan Brand brought back the modularity idea allowing the player to swap between Max Air and Double Stacked Zoom. Now that sounds great in theory but the Max and Zoom don’t cover much surface area And the double stacked Zoom is nearly as thin as a quarter (I mean two quarters since its double stacked). Maybe this was the beginning of the end for real Zoom

You can feel the cushioning if you like quarter size set ups. It literally feels like a quarter size lump of cushioning is under your heel. Having the logo raised in the insole doesn’t help either.

Which feels better between the two ? Zoom pod for sure. It just has a more even feeling than the Max set up.

Overall cushioning is decent but far from ideal. A simple forefoot zoom and regular heel that covers the entire heel like the Kobe VI would have been great.

Fit

The XX2 came out before Nike and JB went to a more narrow last and fit so 10.5 fit me perfectly. Finger width of space at the toe, no heel slip and no space side to side.

The upper starts a little stiff since it is real leather but it breaks in nicely and gives a decent almost one to one fit. Not quite perfect but still good overall.

I really liked the simple lacing set up with the lace lock because it just works.

MaterialsWhat is this foreign space age material ? Oh it’s real leather. Good luck ever seeing leather again from any company.
JB and Nike were really pushing the quilted interior back in 2007.

Personally I like the look and feel but it doesn’t make a difference performance wise.

Nice materials and build quality, may leather Rest In Peace

Support and Stability 
Ah, when a higher cut shoe didn’t fold like a bad hand in Texas Hold em. I really liked the combo of the firmer mid cut with a stiff heel counter

JB also says the XX2 features a titanium coated midfoot shank plateErrr, just because it is painted silver doesn’t mean it’s titanium Jordan Brand. Clearly plastic with silver paint. It does its job just fine but don’t hype a piece a plastic as something it isn’t.

The XX2 is stable in the forefoot even without an outrigger but the heel is a little tippier than I prefer. The protruding outsole under the modular unit doesn’t help either.

Overall support is good but the tippy heel isn’t trustworthy.

Containment

Clean simple lines with no major physical barriers would be worrisome with today’s knits and woven uppers but leather is strong and doesn’t have that stretch on hard cuts. Also this extra leather rand helps in containing the foot. Similar idea to the Curry 3 “midsole frame”

Conclusion 

Every sneaker has a snorey..I mean story. Out of ideas, let’s say make up one about fighter planes! Zooooom fast powerful stealthy (is that a word? ). It’s everything an Air Jordan should be! Whoever was running Jordan Brand back then needs to be destroyed like Cyberdyne in Terminator 2 to prevent the proliferation of story telling these days. Unnecessary and adds no value to sneakers; let the players wearing them write the story.

Inspiration aside, the shoe itself is a good overall performer but the ultratargeted tiny heel cushion really ruins the shoe. Let’s see how UA does with the same inspiration.

Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 Performance Review

The Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 checks all of the technical boxes. It has a knit upper, a midsole combining two soft foams, an outsole built for durability, and a plush collar and tongue. It’s got the whole package to be a solid everyday running shoe. And if you’re not familiar with Mizuno as a running brand, this is a good place to start.

We tested the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 from both a male and female perspective. This review is based on our experiences using the shoes for speed workouts, trail runs, treadmill training, long runs, casual wear, and more.

Let’s start the performance review by focusing on our favorite part of the shoe, the cushioning.

Cushion

Jodi: The cushioning system is pretty darn impressive. It’s a combination of XPOP PU foam and Mizuno Foam Wave. Every time I ran in the Sky Waveknit 3 I felt like I was flying down the road. They felt light and responsive. They’re one of those shoes where it’s hard to tell where your foot ends and they begin. It literally felt like they were one with my feet.

Drew: When I initially unboxed the Sky Waveknit 3, my eyes were immediately drawn to the cut out on the outsole that provides access to the XPOP foam. Just pushing it with my finger showed me it’s as bouncy as adidas Boost or Nike React. The Mizuno Foam Wave that carries and sits above the XPOP feels very plush, like Nike’s Cushlon or other soft EVA foams. Together, the package is extremely good at impact protection and giving your foot a nice bounce off the ground. This is a shoe that’s long run friendly. Your knees and back will take less of a pounding and recover quicker because of the cushioning package.

Traction

Jodi: The Sky Waveknit 3’s traction is solid. It’s everywhere on the outsole but broken up in all the right places to keep the shoe light and flexible. It’s carbon rubber reminds me of what Under Armour used on portions of the UA Curry 7. Which begs the question, how durable is this setup? I’ll let Drew answer that…

Drew: This outsole is built to last. My pair has approximately 50 miles in them and looking at the outsole rubber you’d think I’ve run 3-5 miles in them. This outsole and cushioning system will most likely last 300-500 miles which isn’t a given in most of today’s running shoes.

One small note. Initially, the outsole didn’t grip very well on wet roads. It was only slight slippage with each footfall but it was noticeable. It got better over time as the outsole gained some miles but it’s something to be mindful of when taking your initial runs in them.

Support

Jodi: The Sky Waveknit 3 has the sturdiest heel counter I’ve ever encountered. You put them on and the shoe pretty much sucks your heel into place. And don’t worry, the heel counter is heavily padded so rubbing isn’t an issue.

Drew: I agree with Jodi on the heel counter. It’s super stiff and does it job well. The Waveknit itself is on the stiffer side so the upper holds up well to turns. On trail runs it still wasn’t quite enough containment in the forefoot. The heel was great so I tried them on trail. But because your foot doesn’t sit inside the midsole you can get over the edge in the forefoot. It’s better to avoid rocky or root-filled trails and stick to asphalt or gravel.

Materials

Jodi: Mizuno calls the upper’s material Waveknit. It’s very formed and tough. Where the Nike Epic React is pliable, stretchy, and thin, the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 is the complete opposite. The only real stretch the shoes gave me were on the top of the toe box where the holes are larger to give you breathability. Because the rest of the shoe is so layered your feet don’t get much of a breeze outside the toe box. Side note: I don’t know if Drew noticed this, but the pattern on the toe box is shaped like a heart. Maybe I noticed this more because my shoes are bright red and I’m a girl…

Drew: It is a heart! If you look at the shoe top down from the front you can totally see it. On my grey pair I just thought it was a normal grouping of ventilation holes. Now it definitely appears a cheeky Mizuno designer snuck in a heart. I kinda like the personality. Most running shoes these days are all business.

Also, Jodi is right that the Waveknit is layered and thick. It’s different than knit from other brands but that means it’s also more supportive. It’s not what we’ve come to expect out of a knit but it’s an interesting change of pace. Want a thicker, more durable knit shoe? The Sky Waveknit 3 is perfect for you.

Fit

Jodi: Fit is where the shoe didn’t work for me. Lengthwise, the shoes are my true running size. Width was another story. I had to run with mine laced as loose as possible to give me some wiggle room. I could see my socks peeking through between the sides of the tongue and the upper due to how I had them laced (and the lockdown was still great!). I would feel amazing and light as I headed out for each run only to have my feet start swelling around mile 2 and be royally uncomfortable by mile 3. Anyone with even slightly wide feet should buy the wide version of the Sky Waveknit 3.

Drew: Even with my narrow feet, the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 was tight. I generally like my shoes that way but I would recommend the wide version if you have anything other than narrow feet. As Jodi said, lengthwise they’re true to size. The Waveknit, despite being a thicker knit, flexes extremely well. The collar and tongue are also super padded with an almost memory foam material. As long as you get the right width, they’ll be comfortable.

Overall

Jodi: If you have a narrow foot, the regular width Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 would be fantastic. It’s built to be fast and light. All the potential is there. Unfortunately my feet needed the wide version. So if you’re a wide footer like me, just make sure you get the wide version.

Drew: The nike kyrie 6 cushioning and durability are the big attractions. This is a shoe that will last you a lot of miles and be kind to your feet, knees, and lower back. Just make sure you know they run narrow so you can go wide (if needed).

New Balance Fresh Foam More Performance Review

With the New Balance Fresh Foam More, New Balance has jumped into the thick midsole craze. Does New Balance’s Fresh Foam work in larger doses? I’ve got the answer.

The recent large volume midsole craze is driven by Hoka. Recently, we’ve reviewed the Hoka Bondi 6, Hoka Rincon, and Hoka Arahi 3. Nike has also jumped into the game in a big way with shoes like the Nike Zoom Fly 3 and the controversial Nike Vaporfly Next%. In all of those shoes, the larger volume midsole wasn’t a gimmick. The midsole design contributing to making the ride smoother and snappier while maintaining a very effective cushion setup. Because of the successes from other brands, I had high hopes for New Balance’s latest model.

I ran 70+ miles in the New Balance Fresh Foam More including speed workouts, trail runs, treadmill training, long runs, running over the Golden Gate bridge, and several flights.

Cushion
The Fresh Foam More’s exaggerated midsole offers a fantastic ride. Every step is really smooth. The shoe gives you a nice rocker feeling so landing seems to propel you to and through toe off. In my experience, this worked whether you land on your heel, midfoot, or toes. The shoe quickly became one of my go to running shoes because it made me feel like I was exerting less effort in each of my strides.

Fresh Foam doesn’t do it for me in small amounts. I’ve owned New Balances with a thin slab of Fresh Foam and those shoes just didn’t provide the impact protection I wanted. However, a huge amount of Fresh Foam works great. The impact protection is among the best in recent running shoes and I believe it has a lot to do with New Balance’s midsole design. New Balance has given the foam lots of places to expand with small holes along the lateral side of the midsole and a depression in the heel portion of the outsole to allow for an extra bit of plushness during heel strikes. And even with all that cushion, the Fresh Foam More is still lighter than the average neutral everyday running shoe.
Traction
The traction of the Fresh Foam More is a good news, bad news situation. The hexagon-patterned outsole grips well across rainy roads and sandy trails but it won’t last long. New Balance uses what it calls Ground Contact Foam for the outsole. While Ground Contact Form is denser than the Fresh Foam midsole, it’s still foam and that means durability issues. New Balance opted not to protect the foam with rubber to save weight. While it’s nice the Fresh Foam More is so light, I still wish there was rubber on the outsole in high wear areas like the toe and heel. After 70 miles the outsoles are already looking extremely worn. Based on the way the Fresh Foam More wears down, I only expect them to last 150-200 miles.

Support
Interestingly, the New Balance Fresh Foam More carries a 4mm drop. Most everyday running shoes end up in the 8mm to 10mm range. A 4mm drop is more typically found in Cross Training shoes. The reason is the added stability the lesser drop provides. Weightlifters don’t want to slide forward in their shoes as they lift heavy weights. Instead, they want a flat, stable platform. The 4mm drop in the Fresh Foam More works the same way. The runner stays put on top of the midsole and that’s great for stability.

In addition, the heel and half of the midfoot sit inside the midsole. This means you’re not moving off the footbed. Most instability on roads or trails that cause your weight to shift left or right won’t be cause for alarm. The higher midsole walls keep you upright. It’s the perfect addition for a shoe with such a large volume midsole and provides extra peace of mind.

On top of the above, air jordan 34 provides a wide base for the forefoot. The forefoot’s wide base allows full toe splay and extra support when tackling uneven terrain. You also get a typical internal plastic heel counter that helps the heel stay upright. Altogether, this is one of the more stable neutral running shoes I’ve tested. I do know many people that utilize Stability shoes are also looking for a neutral runner that may fit their needs. The New Balance Fresh Foam More is definitely worth considering even if you’re an overpronator.

Materials
The upper is a very typical mix of engineered and regular mesh. The engineered mesh is reinforced at the toe for protection, durability, and to give your toes a little more room. For durability, New Balance placed fuse overlays on the lace loops. The laces themselves are stretchy with a really cool 3M dash pattern. The upper is very breathable as the mesh pattern allows air to flow easily throughout the shoe. Finally, the holographic 3M “N” New Balance logo is awesome. It’s just for looks but it makes me smile each time I put on the shoe.

Fit
The New Balance Fresh Foam More fits true to size. I went with my normal size and had my preferred thumbnail worth of room.

The upper has no visible seams except behind the heel (which you can’t feel as you’re protected by the heel counter and layers of padding). The comfortable but not too thick collar features 2 achilles pillows and 2 ankle pillows that help prevent ankle area blisters and add extra comfort without the extra weight of a beefy cushioned collar. The middle lace loop on each side of the shoe connects to the tongue and keeps it in place. New Balance calls these Tongue Wings. It’s the best implementation of tongue stay tech I’ve ever seen. The tongue doesn’t move or slip to the side. As someone who often gets tongue slip, I really appreciate the thought that went into the Tongue Wings (even though the name needs a little work lol).

Overall
The New Balance Fresh Foam More delivers a large volume midsole and a well rounded shoe. The cushioning is great, the ride is smooth, and the support is top of class. You also get a few nice touches like Tongue Wings and the holographic 3M logo. The outsole durability isn’t what I would expect from a shoe this price but that’s the main drawback on an otherwise exciting shoe. Hopefully New Balance continues to make running shoes with large volume midsoles because their first effort was a success.

Under Armour Curry 7 Performance Review

HOVR and Micro G make an appearance on the Under Armour Curry 7. Do they make a difference? Find out within our performance review.

Like most Curry models, traction is something that I never really worried about.

Herringbone is used alongside a radial pattern — both of which are my two favorite styles of traction patterns — and they worked really well. I never had to wipe the soles no matter where I played as the aggressive setup was able to quietly bite the floor and provide ample grip. This setup is perfect for, well, anyone looking for traction. Its multidirectional coverage is perfect for any player, any style of play and any move/footwork you can throw at them.

The rubber is slightly on the soft side so outdoor players will notice some fraying and grinding of the pattern. Luckily, there is a lot of rubber and multiple layers of both patterns so while it may wear down quickly, at least there is some additional pattern to go around.

Under Armour went with a dual setup here, enlisting both of its best proprietary foam compounds. Unfortunately, the cushion feels much like it does on every other Curry signature shoe — lackluster and firm.

If you’re expecting the bounce back from the Micro G and a springy plushness from the HOVR then you’ll be disappointed. Despite utilizing the tech names the setup is still firm. Stable, but firm.

This type of setup is great for those wanting a quick feeling shoe that wont sink under their feet. Stability is typically a priority when it comes to Curry’s footwear and this shoe is no different. Great for shooters, and anyone else looking for a low profile and stable setup. Similar to a Kyrie style shoe, if we’re going to compare to another guard’s signature, but without the awkwardly rounded tooling.

The knit that I enjoyed on the Curry 6 is gone and has been replaced with some textiles and a lot of synthetics.

I don’t mind the setup as it works really well on-court. So, from a performance perspective there is not much to complain about. Where I feel a bit of “meh” towards the setup is that this is a signature shoe without a signature feel. There is nothing that is premium with these, and there could have been.

Instead of using 100% synthetics, a little bit of leather, suede or nubuck could have been used. You could have still kept a lot of the TPU layers, as they don’t stretch and provide a level of durability that raw materials don’t, but the collar area, and perhaps the toe cap, could have been a nice raw material and would have given the shoe a really unique feel amongst a lineup of signature models comprised of mesh, ripstop, and knits.

Again, performance is everything and on that end there are no complaints. I just think that what UA did with the Under Armour Forge 96 was a perfect blend of premium/raw materials along with modern synthetics and textiles. It really would have taken the Curry 7 up a notch from the rest of the signature shoes available.

The fit for the Curry 7 I felt was true to size.

They fit my foot a little better straight out of the box than the Curry 6, which needed a bit of breaking in before everything felt “right”. Maybe its due to the material change, but these just felt a little better in terms of overall fit and lockdown.

If you’ve happened to have worn the Curry 3Zer0.3 then that is what I feel is most comparable to the Curry 7. Otherwise these are just better fitting than the air jordan 34 bred.

Support is very good on the Curry 7. They look like a runner, which may throw off some people, but the way they’re built just cradled my foot perfectly.

The HOVR that wraps up the sidewalls and is ensuring your foot doesn’t slide off the footbed. There is an internal heel counter along with the TPU moderator plater to help stabilize the footbed. While there is an outrigger, it’s not as present as previous models, but works just as good. They’ve found a way to slim down the overall design and make them just as supportive. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but the setup works wonderfully. It might even be the most supportive Curry since the Curry 1.

The Under Armour Curry 7 is a beast on-court.

Traction is great. Materials work wonderfully — despite not having that premium feel. The fit may vary from person to person, since no two feet are alike, but they fit me perfectly. Support was awesome.

Cushion is the one area that I felt disappointed with. I know this is a Curry shoe, therefore we can expect a firmer setup, but the way the shoe is marketed with a heavy focus on UA’s two best foams — which happen to be two of the best foam cushions on the market — without either of the two foams feeling the way I had hoped/expected left me slightly bummed out.

Luckily, everything else on the shoe works so damn good that they stay in my rotation. You never know when you’re going to head to the gym and the floor be a mess. Having something with traction as reliable as this is never a bad thing to have in your gym bag.

Nike By You Reveals Opening Week Collection

Last season’s NBA opening-week footwear indulged in the league’s generous colorway rules and brought wildly creative designs to the floor, as seen in the Nike By You custom designs led by nine rookies and sophomores.

This year, the project was expanded to 23 players who customized their footwear based on four signature silhouettes: Kyrie 5, the KD 12, the PG 3 and the Zoom Freak 1. Here are all the Nike By You colorways — and the personal inspirations that helped create them. You can customize your pair now on Nike.com.

Kostas Antetokounmpo, forward, Los Angeles

Legacy is the word that Antetokounmpo wanted to carry through his shoe, with regal purple accents a perfect match for his team-inspired base yellow. The word is embossed on the inner tongue to remind him to represent his family’s name every time he plays.

OG Anunoby, forward, Toronto

The London native sought out a loud colorway for opening week, choosing a mosaic of contrasting colors and tying the look together with neon green laces.

Mikal Bridges, forward, Phoenix

A self-proclaimed momma’s boy, the Phoenix forward designed a KD 12 based off his biggest supporter and main role model. The shoe is completed in a soft purple and yellow color scheme and includes his mother’s initials on the tongue tag.

Miles Bridges, forward, Charlotte

The athletic forward chose a colorway scheme after his favorite animal, the gorilla, a paradigm of intelligence and aggression. Purple and gray accents add a touch of some of his preferred colors. His son’s birthday is printed on the heel, and a personal reference is included on the tongue.

Bruce Brown, guard, Detroit

Inspired by the idea to never judge a book by its cover, Brown customized his shoe entirely off his love for country music, covering his KYRIE 5 in a mix of yellow, burnt orange and sky blue in a tribute to his favorite country artist.

Jalen Brunson, point guard, Dallas

The Dallas point guard designed his shoe from his personal mantra, displaying an acronym on the tongue for “The Magic is in the Work.” The upper is layered in his team’s colors.

Donte DiVincenzo, guard, Milwaukee

The Milwaukee guard designed his KD12 based off his close relationship with his mother. He highlighted her favorite color throughout the shoe’s upper and added in their motto, “Stay True,” which appears on the back heel tab.

De’Aaron Fox, point guard, Sacramento

In addition to the team-inspired color scheme, the third-year guard included subtle details for his foundation, placing other personal details on the inner tongue and the back heel.

Darius Garland, point guard, Cleveland

The Cleveland point guard designed his shoe in a deep red base with a white flytrap containment system. The bright colors were inspired by the attention he’s had on him since he was young, and how he is constantly reminded to stay humble.

Jaxson Hayes, center, New Orleans

The seven-footer chose a color palette inspired by the reason he first fell in love with basketball — a first-grade team he played on that sported navy blue and gold.

Tyler Herro, guard, Miami

The rookie sharpshooter designed his PG3 around his belief in continually evolving his dreams; he’s already charting new ones now that he’s found his way into the league. With an attitude of always wanting to stand out, he chose bold color-blocking throughout the upper and polished off the design with personal details, such as the initials for his nickname (Boy Wonder) on the heel and an acronym on the tongue as a reminder to earn his playing time.

De’Andre Hunter, forward, Atlanta

The versatile forward came from unassuming beginnings, describing himself as a player who didn’t take basketball too seriously until he was older, developing a supportive relationship with his mother along the way. The colorway pulls from his memory of a childhood gym where his mother rebounded for him. The acronym on the tongue stands for a personal motto: “Skills Over Politics.”

Chandler Hutchison, forward, Chicago

The Chicago forward tells his personal story through his Freak 1 silhouette — printing “Underdog” on the inside of the tongue of his shoes, which represents how he felt he was under-recruited throughout his career. He incorporated his high school’s colors into his shoe to acknowledge his coach as pivotal in helping him get noticed by college scouts.

Jonathan Isaac, forward, Orlando

The blue, white and black colorway is inspired by his Orlando team and is dedicated to its fans. The forward gives his shoe a pop of orange inside and on the laces.

Jaren Jackson Jr., forward, Memphis

Jackson’s vibrant shoe was designed to exude the energy he brings to his team’s play. The initials on the tongue stand for a motto repeated in his family since he was a young player: “Much required, much given.”

Ja Morant, point guard, Memphis

The point guard combines colors from different teams throughout his career that helped propel him to the league — from Sumter, South Carolina to Murray, Kentucky to Memphis, Tennessee.

Josh Okogie, guard, Minnesota

The technicolor theme of this PG3 expresses the guard’s mindset to keep bringing the energy to every single game. “NONSTP” is printed on the tongue loop to remind him of this night in and night out.

Royce O’Neale, forward, Utah

The forward loves candy, so he designed his KD12 to look like his favorite treats. He also embellished his shoe with details referring to his mother and other members of his family, linking back to his childhood (where his history with candy began).

Cam Reddish, forward, Atlanta

The Atlanta forward built a color mosaic with blues and reds from the formative teams he’s played on throughout his career that have helped develop him into the player he is today.

Jerome Robinson, guard, Los Angeles

The shooting guard designed his shoe with an earthy palette to highlight some of his favorite hobbies, camping and hiking. The phrase “Live Free” is printed on the heel and represents his life ethos.

Collin Sexton, point guard, Cleveland

This wild colorway from the point guard revolves around personal expression. The acronym on the heel stands for “Move with a Purpose,” a personal mantra of his.

Anfernee Simons, guard, Portland

A mix of the colors from his NBA team and his Florida high school team, the shooting guard’s shoe follows his pride in being drafted out of high school. Simons added his home zip code (32701) across the heel tag as a shout-out to his hometown.

Brad Wanamaker, guard, Boston

The guard had a multifaceted journey to the league once he graduated college. His shoe tells the story of how he arrived to the NBA after playing with teams in France, Germany and Turkey, each represented by colors in his shoe. As an added touch, he calls out his hometown of Philadelphia on the shoe’s tongue.

 

UA Black Ice Performance Analysis and Review

Since the Bucks are balling tonight, I figured I’d dig these out and write a review on them. Back in the day Brandon Jennings was the only face of UA hoops while he was in Milwaukee so why not bust out the tried and true Gucci black and red Black Ice (s) for shits and giggles. I’ve had these in cold storage for the past 8 or 9 years..get it? Ice? Black ice? Nevemind

I thought these were sexy as hell when I bought them and I really liked the UA curry 7 brand. And for $110 what the hell right? I remember getting them late at night around Thanksgiving time and I opened them up and smiled because the new shoe smell slapped me in the face and the patent leather sparkled with hints of green. And damn that Micro G felt amazing. Micro G >>>>> HOVR which is pretty much remarketed garbage.

Pros: traction when clean, cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment

Cons: lots of wiping needed on dusty floors,

Sizing : true to size to half a size down depending on preference

Best For:any position

Weight

A little lighter than average for a mid at 14 ounces. Most mids are around 14.5-16 ounces

Traction

Shattered glass or ice traction pattern looks cool and works great on clean floors, but can be Chazz Michael Michaels on dusty floors…get it ? Ice skating? Blades of Glory ? Black ice ? Never m..

Although the traction isn’t the worst on dusty floors, this is the main weakness of the Black Ice. Really skating on thin ice when it comes to acceptability with these on dusty floors. Get it ? Thin ice? Black Ice? Never..

Cushioning

I’ll take this “old” cushioning over HOVR in the Havoc and Curry 6 any day every day, no questions asked. Zero, Zilch, Nada. Micro G on the Black Ice gives me everything; it’s low to the ground and springy right out of the box.

Oh yea Mr Orange sole. Micro G insole I do miss theeSome shoetubers don’t even know the difference between a open cell ortholite insole which is BLUE vs an orange Micro G insole

You’d think Micro G was made of diamond dust the way UA has gotten so cheap with it. HOVR is marketed like a MOFO but it’s 95% BS. UA is slowly putting more Micro G on their shoes again at least.

Fit

Ah back in the day when one size didn’t fit one. I bought a 10.5 and 11 and went with the 10.5. Patent leather toe boxes like this usually have more room in the toe box and these are no different. Easily could have gone with 11 though without any issues since the fit is adaptable to many foot sizes.

No heel slip or side to side movement. The strap is just there so don’t expect any help from it. You can’t really make patent leather hug your foot (see Aj Xi) so there isn’t a perfect one to one fit in the toe box but it’s acceptable.

Materials

Definitely considered premium today. Patent leather and synthetic leather that feels like leather/nubuck. No issues here but no awards given by me for materials.

Support and stability

So asymmetrical it looks like a haircut from the 90’s

A lowish Mid that has a higher medial side to help with ankle support m. Air Jordan XIV anyone? I really love this concept because it works without compromising ankle mobility.

Even though there is no a super tiny outrigger I had no issues underfoot since the outsole is very wide and flat.

No issues overall here

Containment

No issues thanks to stiff patent leather, a little strap etc..

Conclusion

This was the first b-ball shoe for UA and they did a great job. Maybe UA should revisit the mold or rehire the designer. If traction was better like the UA Juke, then these would be probably be considered into getting some PT but of course with sig shoes you gotta make them unique. Man the Juke traction is/was fantastic..

The rest of the shoe works pretty well and I have zero complaints. It’s one of the shoes I like but don’t love but could have loved if a few improvements were made.

Oh and by the way Bucks in 6 over my dude Kawhi and company. Unless the Klaw gets some help, I just don’t see them getting to the finals over a more talented and deeper team.

Air Jordan XIV Performance Review

Since the Oxy XIV retro just came out I thought I’d finally write about my love for the XIV. These would still be in my top 5 if they were wearable but being 18 years old (yikes!!), I can’t trust them to hold up. Please note that this is a review of the original 1998 release not the crappy retros. I tried the 2006 retros out and could tell they weren’t the same so I gave up on them and stuck to collecting and playing in only the originals. I have not tried any of the newer retros. I’ve probably trashed about 10 pair. I do not recommend buying them to play in due to the risk of watching them fall apart. I’ve had to Shoe Goo my current pair a few times. Shoo goo is awesome if you’ve never tried it.

This is the shoe that made me realize all shoes are not made equal. I actually fell in love with the looks of the shoe because of how it performed on court and all the great memories I had playing in them. Just simple and clean. Of course everyone else’s memory is MJ’s last shot. Photo courtesy of Solecollector .

Pros: traction, perfect cushioning, fit, support and stability, containment

Cons: durabilityforefoot midsole “teeth”‘come apart after heavy wear, sole and upper at toe box separate over time, metal bar in tongue can be painful, tongue likes to slide off to the side, Ferrari shield needs break in on some pairs.

Sizing: true to size

Best for: guards

Weight:

I never weighed these before and it weighs a whopping half ounce more than the Crazylight 2016. It doesn’t matter how much a shoe weighs if it feels like an extension of your foot.

Traction: 

The late 90’s, early 2000’s were simpler times. Full length herringbone made out a soft pliable rubber that sticks to the floor like glue. Dirty floor ? No problem. If you like to hear squeaky traction, these are for you.

They could extend the herringbone up and around the forefoot like they do nowadays but not need really.

So simple yet effective. Just plain awesome.

Cushioning

Want to feel what Zoom is supposed to feel like and why it is so addictive ? Try the OG XIV. Low to the ground yet springy and responsive.

These actually have articulated forefoot Zoom like the Super Fly 4 and covers almost the full width of the forefoot. No tiny Met Bag like the Kobe V/VI. Picture courtesy of sneakerdebut.com

The heel features Zoom as well and back then, Zoom bags were big, not the quarter size things we see today. Notice the heel cut out? Very similar idea to the Kobe IV V VI “Y heel”.

Insoles these days are usually just a piece of Ortholite or thin cheap foam but these XIV (2006 retros included) feature these heel and forefoot inserts that feel almost like Adiprene. This gives the wearer a little more cushioning and step in comfort.

The end result is cushioning perfection. Responsive yet protective. If cushioning is a drug, this is the crack that got me hooked on Zoom.
Fit:

Back then, I wore a 10.5 but my feet have flattened out and lengthened in the past eighteen years so now I need an 11. However I can still wear the 10.5 but don’t have the toe box space I like.

I know I sound like a broken record but back in the 90’s, Jordans were really wear tested a lot so the fit on the XIV is like a glove. No straps or gimmicks, just an effective lacing system that kept your foot in.

There is zero heel slip with a 3/4 mid cut
The memory foam in the ankle collar is the perfect amount.

Just feels like true extension of the foot. Man I miss these.  Maybe I’ll get the newer retros.
Support and stability 

The AJ XIV features an assymetrical collar which allows freedom on movement on cuts but support on ankle ankle inversions. The higher medial side “slows the roll” if you turn your ankle.

Tons of real carbon fiber.. So sexy

Of course the base of the shoe is flat and stable with no tippiness.

Once again, simple yet effective use of design and technology.

Containment 

Upon examining the XIV, Jordan Brand was way ahead of its time and is still designed better than a lot of shoes today that feature mesh or knit uppers **cough, melo m12, JC2, JC3, AJ XX9, Soldier X**

Almost the entire shoe features an extended midsole to keep the foot in place on cuts. Some of the extension was removed to allow more flexibility .

I have probably reglued the forefoot “teeth” about five times on this pair.

Regardless of durability, containment is excellent.

Flaws:

No actual performance flaws with the XIV but some irritants.

  1. Metal bar across the top of the tongue can jam into your ankle and be painful. Only certain pairs of mine did this.
  2. Tongue doesn’t sit straight up on some pairs and usually slides to a side
  3. The Ferrari Jordan shield is another hard spot but softens with time.
  4. Toe box and sole can separate but that’s due to the age of the shoe and use of leather. Shoe goo to the rescue!

Conclusion 

In shoe collectors’ eyes, the Air Jordan XIV is not a holy grail. Sure MJ hit one of his most famous shots in them but he only wore the Last Shots in the playoffs. Sales were lackluster since MJ retired and never wore these on court the next season. However, from a performance perspective, these were and still are the BEST PERFORMING AIR JORDAN OF ALL TIME. the AJ XI, XII, and XIII a get a lot of love and rightfully so but the XIV is just flawless from top to bottom (don’t get me started on anything post XIV because they all have their flaws especially XV to XVIII).  These would still be in my top 5 rotation if they would hold up. Maybe I’ll try a newer retro pair for fun..